The mind-body connection is a widely discussed topic, both in popular culture and in health-related research. Dr. Cindy Whitten, a scholar/practitioner in the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland, focuses her research on understanding how societal factors impact health. She highlights the importance of taking care of mental health, particularly in relation to maintaining a healthy body.
Dr. Whitten has recently collaborated with Dr. Sahar Iqbal from the Faculty of Medicine on a project that examines the effects of psycho-social factors on aging populations in Newfoundland and Labrador with type 2 diabetes. Their analysis of longitudinal data revealed a clear connection between the ability to cope with stress and glycemic control over time. Dr. Iqbal, whose primary interest lies in diabetes, obesity, and metabolic medicine, emphasizes the complex nature of diabetes and its impact on mental health. Newfoundland and Labrador have a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, which, if poorly managed, can lead to additional health complications like cardiovascular issues. This places a strain on the healthcare system. Dr. Whitten stresses that the findings of their research are significant not only from a medical perspective but also from a societal standpoint. She believes that the study's use of psychometric scale surveys can assist healthcare providers in evaluating patients more effectively. To create long-term change, Drs. Whitten and Iqbal advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration. They propose an improved intervention model that incorporates elements from psychology, social prescribing, and clinical treatments to manage diabetes. The researchers are also involved in other projects, including studying the impact of connecting people to nature or water activities (blue and green prescribing) on diabetes and obesity.
They emphasize that interdisciplinary research can greatly impact patient outcomes and society as a whole. Dr. Whitten sees this collaboration between social science and medicine as a strong partnership with the potential for positive change.
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